Feed your head with the rare mono edition of this spellbinding time-capsule from the epicenter of the Summer of Love, San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury, circa 1967. On their groundbreaking first album with Grace Slick, the Jefferson Airplane brought their freshly-blooming psychedelia to the world at large with "White Rabbit" and "Somebody to Love." On high-definition vinyl, from the original analog masters.
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Kevin L. Nenstiel | Kearney, Nebraska | 07/18/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It's a shame this album's two hit singles haven't dated well, since that conceals how much adventurous art germinates in these songs. The Airplane's second album stands up remarkably well to the passage of time, packed with tracks that, individually, could have rewritten the future of folk rock music. Together, they pack a punch that hasn't been much approached in over four decades.
Those two singles, "Somebody to Love" and "White Rabbit," haven't become bad with time. Rather, they remain so iconic and epoch-making that the paths they broke have been trod time and again by numberless rockers since. Imagine how pop culture could have been shaped if overlooked classics like "Plastic Fantastic Lover," "Embryonic Journey," or "3/5 of a Mile in 10 Seconds" had enjoyed the same exposure in the pivotal summer of 1967.
Remarkable for a band closely associated with the Woodstock Era, this disc includes few electric rockers. It has a surprisingly folky sound, like an edgier Byrds backed by Carlos Santana and John Fogerty. With its acoustic-electric hybrid sound and Summer of Love ethos, listening to this album leaves me nostalgic for times before I was born. And I know I'm not alone, since I hear hints of this album in acts as diverse as Gomez and Brooks & Dunn.
Not that this album is perfect. The reverb effects (which Jeff Tamarkin's booklet notes say divided the group) make some tracks sound like they were recorded at the far end of a Quonset hut. "My Best Friend" and "How Do You Feel" sound like zygotes of songs that needed time to gestate. And, no offense to reissue producer Bob Irwin, I hear too clearly why the band shelved the bonus tracks during post-production.
But most of this album remains so crisp and precise, two generations later, that I can listen to it time and again without ever getting tired of it. I like the Beatles and the Grateful Dead, but when I imagine how great it must have been to be young and full of life in 1967, this album forms the soundtrack to my daydreams. Such an act of beauty we've heard too rarely in recent decades."